Morning Must Reads: September 30

In the news: looming government shutdown; the Justice Department will sue North Carolina; school choice; two Popes will be declared saints

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Mark Wilson / Getty Images

The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC.

  • “The nation braced for a partial shutdown of the federal government, as time for Congress to pass a budget before a Monday midnight deadline grew perilously short and lawmakers gave no signs Sunday they were moving toward a resolution.” [WSJ]
    • Hidden Hand: How Heritage Action Drove DC to Shut Down [TIME]
    • “Without a complete capitulation by House Republicans, large sections of the government would close, hundreds of thousands of workers would be furloughed without pay, and millions more would be asked to work for no pay.” [NYT]
    • “Speaker John Boehner spent months trying to avoid a government shutdown. Now he’s staring one straight in the eye with no obvious way out.” [Politico]
    • “To understand the shutdown crisis in Washington, go back to the House Republican balanced budget plan last spring.” [Politico]
    • “The Washington region, home to the largest concentration of federal workers and contractors in the nation, could lose an estimated $200 million a day and could see more than 700,000 jobs take a financial hit if the federal government shuts down Monday night.” [WashPost]
    • “According to the poll, which was conducted Friday through Sunday, 46% say they would blame congressional Republicans for a government shutdown, with 36% saying the president would be more responsible and 13% pointing fingers at both the GOP in Congress and Obama…The poll indicates that Obamacare is not popular, with 57% saying they oppose the law, up 3 points from May, and 38% saying they support the measure, down five points from May.” [CNN]
  • “The disclosure in August of a terrorist plot by Al Qaeda has caused more damage to American counterterrorism efforts than the vast trove of data from Edward Snowden, the former N.S.A. consultant, analysts said.” [NYT]
  • “The Justice Department will sue North Carolina on Monday over the state’s new voting law.” [WashPost]
  • Inside the Nation’s Biggest Experiment on School Choice [WSJ]
  • “A British newspaper [The Guardian] wants to take its aggressive investigations global, but money is running out.” [New Yorker]
  • The Magazine That Was [Newsweek]
  • “Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII will be declared saints on 27 April 2014, Pope Francis has announced.” [BBC]
339 comments
notsacredh
notsacredh

Heigh ho, heigh ho, it's off to the collective I go.

notsacredh
notsacredh

Well, I'm ready to head off for work without getting paid for it. I'll get my money eventually, but not until this farce is over. How much damage is the GOP prepared to absorb before they actually act like Americans and do the right thing? I question their patriotism. It's not a hard thing to do. They've shown time and time again that their political agenda trumps any loyalty to our country. Have fun folks.



notsacredh
notsacredh

Here's something to think about. From day one of President Obama's first term, the GOP has tried to make the president look bad. If the ACA was going to be a boondoggle, why WOULDN'T the GOP want to see it pass so that it could fail and make Obama and the democrats look bad? A disasterous program would make the president look bad. It would make the democrats look bad and as a byproduct, it would give a serious boost to the republican's chances of widening the GOP lead in the house and help them to retake the senate in 2014 .It would also set them up nicely for 2016 and be the theme for a republican president.

I think the answer is obvious. They don't expect it to be a disaster. I believe they think it will work and become very popular. If it worked well enough, it might even make a single-payer system the next logical step. They are risking the country's recovery, putting hundreds of thousands of federal employees out of work and shutting down the government because they know that the ACA is going to be a huge winner for the voters. If we've learned anything about the Tea Party, it's that they put the Tea Party first. Not they country or the American people.

forgottenlord
forgottenlord

Former Edmonton Police Officer: System is protecting police brutality

Was run out of forces after reporting three officers abusing suspect.  The officers weren't even investigated.  One of them has had two investigated incidents, one of which he was cleared on when he shot an aboriginal kid and the other reportedly was him taking a man he'd arrested, stopping at a school, taking the man to the middle of the playground away from the car and where his partner was sitting, and beat the living tar out of the man.

notsacredh
notsacredh

Kind of on topic. One of my friends at work was trying to bet another co-worker 10 bucks that the democrats would cave in before midnight and delay the ACA for a year. I told the other guy to jump on the bet and offered to bet him $100 myself. No go. After I said I'd bet $100, he wouldn't take any other bets for even the $10.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

Tic Tock went the Hostage takers clock. Time to call in the SWAT team.

forgottenlord
forgottenlord

Report: Moderate Republicans are lining up votes for a clean bill.

ZacPetit
ZacPetit

C-SPAN - Pete Sessions (R Texas):

"Delta airlines said the law will cost the company $100 million dollars!"

First of all, just a drop in the bucket, Pete. Second of all, $100 million to insure thousands of otherwise uninsured workers sounds pretty reasonable to me. If you don't want Universal Healthcare, Pete, you better have a really darn good alternative. Oh? You say the Republicans actually thought this one up? You don't say.

fitty_three
fitty_three

I like the way Obama is putting the hurt on the GOP.  

"You don't get to extract a ransom for doing your job".

A spine has been located.  Finally.

ZacPetit
ZacPetit

Have to admit, pretty shrewd endgame on the part of the GOP in what appeared to be an absolutely losing position. By sending the CR back to the Senate with only a proposal to delay the individual mandate and subsidize federal workers, they have shifted from an position of "shutting down the government" to a much stronger one. The individual mandate is, after all, a dubious notion required by the law to actually work, which amounts basically to moral policing (buy insurance to subsidize others or we will penalize you).

The obvious solution is, of course, to just create a single payer system, but that seems out of the question when the GOP is so rabidly against progressive healthcare reform and the Democrats are so entrenched in their defense of the ACA. If we're going to face a government shutdown, though (and subsequently the certain economic headwinds to follow), at least it has become entertaining.

forgottenlord
forgottenlord

@sacredh 

Why does Christie think the President is the boss of the Speaker?  The Constitution made it pretty clear that they're supposed to be entirely separate power bases.  And Congress is supposed to be the one that creates the budget, not the Executive branch.

notsacredh
notsacredh

Here's something Christie didn't mention. Democrats wouldn't shut down the government and possibly derail the economy because of partisan games. The republicans have done it 3 times in less than 20 years. Democrats put the country first. They don't shut the government down to win points with the fringe. The GOP has done it multiple times. Consider this: In all three of the last shutdowns, the fringe of the republican party has chosen to shut down the government if the fringe element didn't get their way. The democrats have strongly disagree with republican presidents but always put the best interests of the country and it's people first. The GOP doesn't look at it the same way. Party First is the GOP mantra.

forgottenlord
forgottenlord

@sacredh

Actually, I think what they're really concerned about is it becomes another Medicare - a program that ends up possibly bleeding the country dry as health care costs continue to rise but is impossible to kill because it's an insanely popular entitlement.  Pretty much, they look at Medicare and see a problem with Medicare and all government health care because it tries to treat everyone equally whereas in their eyes, not everyone is equal and not everyone deserves equal care.  We look at Medicare and see a problem with private health care systems.  The other thing that they don't admit is they're the ones who believe in restricting health care access - in fact, they believe you have to simply because they believe supply can never be high enough to meet demand while simultaneously keeping the health care system evolving and developing.  Which is why they're so focused on death panels - they believe it's simply not possible to run a system any other way.  And they don't believe that the systems already in use everywhere else actually function as well as they do and are more likely hiding some sinister reality that nobody talks about.  So they want the caps to be based upon your "worthiness" which is another term for "how much are you willing to pay?"

notsacredh
notsacredh

I'll be at work long before a new MMR is posted, but if anybody agrees with any or all of what I said, please feel free to use any or all of this post for one of your own.

forgottenlord
forgottenlord

@sacredh

"Keeping the people's government open is not a concession to me. Keeping vital services running and hundreds of thousands of Americans on the job is not something you give to the other side."

MrObvious
MrObvious

@sacredh 

Excellent speech. No concessions. The speaker should let the clean bill go to the floor for a up and down vote and the appoint people for conference. 

MrObvious
MrObvious

@ZacPetit 

And not giving them insurance will cost us tax payers more. Simple - every time someone gets healthcare and don't have insurance or can't pay for it the rest of us pay more.

La_Randy
La_Randy

@ZacPetit

"The individual mandate is, after all, a dubious notion required by the law to actually work, which amounts basically to moral policing (buy insurance to subsidize others or we will penalize you)."

 I thought that when you buy insurance you are subsidizing other people. Is that not what an insurance pool is?

MrObvious
MrObvious

@ZacPetit 

Not really. Most voters don't care about the meat of the issue. What they see and hear is the childish demands. Most people are either for, against or confused. The delay comes in the 'wtf - last minute shut down over something I voted about in 2008 and 2012?'

This is the kind of game for insiders - the oh's and the ah's is not the kind of stuff that regular voters care about. They see something broken. The reaction to it is the all time low popularity of our congress and the sagging popularity of the president.

We know the basic idea behind deciding to spend on something and then having to pay for it. And as long as that's message is clear the back and forth is irrelevant.

GOP want the tyranny of the minority and people are getting fed up.

stuart_zechman
stuart_zechman

@ZacPetit The GOP are so crazy that they would take a hugely unpopular mandate that the Supreme Court just upheld as a massive tax on individuals, and fight it in a highly publicized process.

"On Sunday, the House passed an amended Senate-approved continuing resolution that contained new provisions targeting the Affordable Care Act, despite opposition from Senate leaders and a White House veto threat, the New York Times reports.

House lawmakers first voted 248-174 to include language that would repeal the ACA's 2.3% medical device tax, which was included as a revenue generator to help pay for the law. Lawmakers then voted 231-192 to delay ACA implementation by one year (Weisman/Peters, New York Times, 9/28).

Specifically, the measure would impose a one-year delay on implementation of the law's individual mandate and health insurance exchanges. GOP aides said that most portions of the ACA that have gone into effect would remain unchanged, such as provisions prohibiting insurers from denying coverage to individuals with pre-existing conditions, allowing children to remain on their parents' health plans until age 26 and reducing the cost of prescription drugs for Medicare beneficiaries (Espo, AP/Boston Globe, 9/28)."

So, the Republicans are so insane that they would dare to use their majority in the populist-designated House of Representatives to vote for and pass a spending bill that delays the parts ot the PPACA that people (correctly)  hate --the mandate that 2008 Barrack Obama ran against in a winning campaign-- and keeps the parts that people want.

What lunatics.

Too bad the 2006 Democrats weren't similarly batty when we elected them to stop funding the said that the Iraq AUMF authorized occupation that the Republican Senate and President were implementing. Oh well, that's the price of being sane, I guess.

notsacredh
notsacredh

"Have to admit, pretty shrewd endgame on the part of the GOP in what appeared to be an absolutely losing position. By sending the CR back to the Senate with only a proposal to delay the individual mandate and subsidize federal workers, they have shifted from an position of "shutting down the government" to a much stronger one"

I disagree. Their position is crumbling. Delaying the ACA for a year isn't going to happen because next year is the midterms and the TP will have an even stronger incentive to fight implementation of the ACA then. Both Obama and the dems know this. The GOP strategy is to NEVER let the ACA be implemented. By refusing to send the senate a clean bill, they ARE going to shut down the government.

fitty_three
fitty_three

@ZacPetit 

I think that the perception will still be an attack on a law that has been decided, even up to a conservative SC test.

MrObvious
MrObvious

@sacredh 

in 81 the Dem house was balking at raising the debt ceiling - because GOP wanted to add tax cuts to the bill. But the speaker at that time forced his caucus to vote for it after negotiations.

But again - GOP tried to take the debt ceiling bill and load it with their goodies. And again - Dems did the right thing. 

There's only one party right now that want to use our political system and turn it into a tyranny of the minority. To get two votes; one when bills are crafted and one when bills are paid.

And the world is getting fed up since in October the trigger finger will be on their economies as well. And the same thing is echoed across the world about this crisis - GOP got to wake up and stop behaving like juvenile punks.

notsacredh
notsacredh

@forgottenlord, they offered two months of running the government for a year's delay. In two more months they'd demand more concessions to keep the government running. I don't want to see us play this game any longer. No means no now.

notsacredh
notsacredh

@MrObvious, I don't want to see any concessions. It's all concessions when you deal with the baggers and then they wind up stabbing you in the back anyway. I want this to play out. If there isn't pain now, it will just be later. The GOP has to decide who runs the show. They'll either keep giving in to the lunatics or else they'll do what they to do to get their party back.

collioure
collioure

@MrObvious @sacredh 

What exactly is a clean bill?

Like what are the proposed déficits with and w/o the individual mandate?

La_Randy
La_Randy

@stuart_zechman @ZacPetit If you keep the parts people like but do not mandate to achieve a large insurance pool. What happens to the insurance rates of those who choose to participate?

fitty_three
fitty_three

@sacredh 

I think they are backpedaling in desperation.They haven't been too good about predicting what POTUS would do, but I'm glad to see that he "let the black out" on 'em.

This is an expression in the black community similar to opening a can of whuparse for those who don't know.

ZacPetit
ZacPetit

@fitty_three @ZacPetit I doubt it. They have played this really well all things considered. I can't imagine the Democrats will fall for the same ploy again (during the debt ceiling debate) but you never know. The GOP could come out of this much better than I thought they would, though both sides are going to take a beating for it.

forgottenlord
forgottenlord

@sacredh

If Boehner didn't think it'd pass on Dem and Moderate votes, he would've put it up for vote already just to show it wouldn't pass.

notsacredh
notsacredh

@MrObvious, the Tea Party is the engine that is driving the GOP crazy train. The TP is a minority within their own party but they have no problem forcing the rest of the GOP to adopt their ideology. There is only one out for Boehner and if he takes it, it ends his gig as Speaker of the House. I don't know if Boehner has the balls to count on democratic votes and the moderate republican votes to pass a clean bill. If he remains a puppet of the Tea Party and let's the shutdown continue, he keeps his job. If he puts the country first over the TP faction, he loses it.

notsacredh
notsacredh

@yogi, that's what the guy that took the $10 bet said. He told the other guy that "You always get your clock cleaned when you bet him".

forgottenlord
forgottenlord

@sacredh

As I put it earlier, if the Republicans wanted to offer Immigration Reform for ACA, we might have a discussion but offering keeping the government functional for ACA....ridiculous

collioure
collioure

@mantisdragon91 @collioure @MrObvious @sacredh 

My understanding was that delaying the individual nandate for a year would save $350 billion, but I only read that once and I am far from sure.

Projected savings from Obamacare ?   you must in a time warp.  Long term to cost  $1-2 reillion as I recall;

MrObvious
MrObvious

@collioure @MrObvious @sacredh 

Wtf does Obamacare have to do with a continuing resolution to fund the government until they both agree on a budget?


Jesus you 'wingers - you don't understand how a government functions do you?

stuart_zechman
stuart_zechman

@La_Randy @stuart_zechman @ZacPetit

Rates can and will go up at health insurance oligopolies' will.

There is nothing in the PPACA that prevents insurers by law from raising premiums however much they'd like. There's a "review" by HHS of rate increases larger than 10%, but that's it. No power to deny the increases.

But please, just think about this:

Health insurers are making the claim that, unless these huge, billion dollar companies are able to collect the premiums of everyone without insurance, there simply isn't enough money to pay for all of the sick people that they'd be forced to cover, so they'd have to raise rates.

That's an absurd claim, anyone who has had any experience with health insurance rate increases (and who isn't overwhelmingly invested in supporting the PPACA) can confirm this.

Rate increases will happen regardless of whether their coffers are being supplemented by the premiums of people who buy mandated junk insurance. The evidence of this are the insane rate increases that have already been put forward by the health insurance industry.

See New York TImes, "Health Insurers Raise Some Rates by Double Digits":

"In California, Aetna is proposing rate increases of as much as 22 percent, Anthem Blue Cross 26 percent and Blue Shield of California 20 percent for some of those policy holders, according to the insurers’ filings with the state for 2013. These rate requests are all the more striking after a 39 percent rise sought by Anthem Blue Cross in 2010 helped give impetus to the law, known as the Affordable Care Act, which was passed the same year and will not be fully in effect until 2014.

 In other states, like Florida and Ohio, insurers have been able to raise rates by at least 20 percent for some policy holders. The rate increases can amount to several hundred dollars a month.

The proposed increases compare with about 4 percent for families with employer-based policies."

i know that this is a very simple, frequently made argument, that the premiums of people who wouldn't ordinarily buy over-priced junk insurance are needed to pay for the sick, or health insurers will just go out of business, but it's the health insurance industry's public relations argument. It didn't used to be Democrats' arguments until recently.

fitty_three
fitty_three

@ZacPetit

On second thought, the fact that 73 tea party GOPers have cobbled together enough political muscle to cause the world to take notice and the nation to go through all these gyrations is an accomplishment in it's own right.

So I'll have to agree with your assessment even if I don't like them. I also happen to think that they won't be getting the blame they should.

stuart_zechman
stuart_zechman

@hivemaster @stuart_zechman You must really like insurance products. You sound as if you're reading advertising copy.

"Liability coverage is offered for bodily injury (BI) or property damage (PD) for which the insured driver is deemed responsible

An example of property damage is where an insured driver (or 1st party) drives into a telephone pole and damages the pole, liability coverage pays for the damage to the pole. In this example, the drivers insured may also become liable for other expenses related to damaging the telephone pole, such as loss of service claims (by the telephone company), depending on the jurisdiction. An example of bodily injury is where an insured driver causes bodily harm to a third party and the insured driver is deemed responsible for the injuries. "

Where did you get the idea that states require drivers to insure themselves against their own financial ruin?

hivemaster
hivemaster

@stuart_zechman The liability portion that is required actually protects YOU from financial ruin, Stuart.  Without insurnace, they could come after ALL of your financial assets if you were to do them tort worthy harm.

stuart_zechman
stuart_zechman

@hivemaster These are not identical cases.

Automobile insurance mandates exist in most states with respect to liability insurance, i.e. damage that one party does to another party's auto while driving.

The "failure to have insurance" that "can cause financial ruin" is the failure to insure against the financial ruin caused to another individual, when you wreck their car, and don't have liability insurance to cover the cost of repairing the damage to their vehicle.

Unless one accepts simplistic analogies, or health insurance industry accounts of how insurance markets function, these are hardly the same policies.

hivemaster
hivemaster

Almost identical cases, too.  The insurance cost is distributed widely by requiring it in a marketplace where faliure to have insurance can cause financial ruin.

hivemaster
hivemaster

@ZacPetit "The idea of penalizing someone for not purchasing insurance is unheard of, and Supreme Court ruling or not I would not be surprised at all of it turned out to be largely unenforceable."

Auto insurance.

fitty_three
fitty_three

@ZacPetit 

But I do agree that it is the softest spot in Obamacare, and actually I don't like it much.  I really think that it's a bandaid fix for what should really have been UHC.

fitty_three
fitty_three

@ZacPetit

I don't see it as much in the way of spectacular because they are just doing fallbacks.  A lot of this isn't really planned so much as it is political water finding it's path of least resistance, but that is only my opinion.

fitty_three
fitty_three

@ZacPetit  

I will also say that this is mild compared to the issue of the debt ceiling. Both battles also have brought the strategy of hostage taking to get what they couldn't get through normal legislative process into clearer focus.

There's a wide area of agreement, even with the faux equivalency that this was brought on by Obama's caving in 2011.  This isn't the way we should be doing governance.

ZacPetit
ZacPetit

@fitty_three @ZacPetitSure, the President put it pretty plainly that the House (and by extension, the Republicans) should bear the brunt of the shutdown as it is likely to occur. But the support of the mandate ismuch lower than the support of the other elements in the bill. The idea of penalizing someone for not purchasing insurance is unheard of, and Supreme Court ruling or not I would not be surprised at all of it turned out to be largely unenforceable. This mandate is the least popular and simultaneously most crucial element of the law, and the GOP knows it. They have feinted and parried right at the heart of the legislation, and as a student of politics I must tip my hat to their execution.

That doesn't mean I agree with them, but sometimes you have to stand back and applaud the enemy team when they have a spectacular play.

fitty_three
fitty_three

@ZacPetit

We'll have to agree to disagree on this one, Zac.  I'm not seeing much approval of the GOP beyond their base.  The support for the mandate is somewhat weaker but it has the advantage of having passed a conservative SC test.

They are shrewd, but they are also fighting over the steering wheel as the GOP vehicle is headed over the cliff.

And Obama just spoke. In so many words, he's put the blame on the tea party and is fine with them taking a hit from the backlash.

ZacPetit
ZacPetit

@hivemaster @ZacPetit @fitty_three The average person isn't likely going to realize that the House tried to insert some ridiculous demands three times rather than just having an up-or-down. They'll see the last stand-off between the chambers, which is going to consist of the House sending a very reasonable looking (but unworkable) CR to the Senate and the Senate shooting it down. Both chambers will likely get lot of blame, but the GOP won't get nearly as much as it should. That is my prediction.

hivemaster
hivemaster

@ZacPetit @fitty_three You're looking at nuances that the average person, who has the IQ of a carrot, just won't understand. 

It doesn't matter WHAT they send.  If it isn't a clean bill, the government will shut down, and they will be blamed.